- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States
Since 1951, Colorado has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.
2023-24 ACADEMIC YEAR
by Colorado students through WICHE Student Access Programs
WICHE’s Student Access Programs
WICHE operates three Student Access Programs that together saved nearly 50,000 students $580+ million in 2022-23. Each program supports students at each level of postsecondary education: undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare studies.
- Students gain from increased choice and savings.
- Schools gain by optimizing enrollments.
- States and Pacific Island members gain by growing the skills of those they serve and strengthening their workforce.
I am incredibly thankful for PSEP. Colorado State University offers challenging classes, hands-on instruction with both large and small animals, and opportunities to meet and learn from well recognized researchers and clinicians. My time here will prepare me well for my career in veterinary medicine, thanks to Montana’s participation in WICHE’s PSEP.
CLAIRE, Montana resident, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University
Improving Lives in Colorado
WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Learn more about our mission.
WICHE brings together senior academic leaders to foster dialogue about issues facing individual institutions through its leadership and professional development networks.
WESTERN ALLIANCE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE ACADEMIC LEADERS – 2-YEAR INSTITUTIONS
- Aims Community College
- Arapahoe Community College
- Colorado Community College System
- Colorado Northwestern Community College
- Community College of Aurora
- Community College of Denver
- Front Range Community College
- Lamar Community College
- Morgan Community College
- Northeastern Junior College
- Otero Junior College
- Pikes Peak Community College
- Pueblo Community College
- Red Rocks Community College
- Trinidad State College
WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP FORUM – 4-YEAR INSTITUTIONS
- Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Colorado State University
- Colorado State University – Pueblo
Laura Niesen de Abruña, Metropolitan State University of Denver, will serve as a primary faculty member for the Academy as of July 2024.
WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY is a year-long professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region. Twelve cohort members from Colorado institutions have participated in the Academy since its inception in 2015.
Thanks to collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), one of four U.S. regional higher education compacts, WICHE-region educational institutions, nonprofits, and public education entities can benefit from three programs: MHECtech, which provides competitively bid purchasing contracts for an array of hardware, software, and technology services; MHECare, which provides a student health insurance plan and teletherapy services; and a MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, which offers risk transfer and advisory solutions. Learn more.
Colorado participates in the STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT (SARA) through WICHE. This voluntary agreement provides reciprocity for the state authorization of distance education.
WICHE ACADEMY FOR LEADERS IN THE HUMANITIES is a leadership development program for aspiring academic leaders with a background in the humanities. The two-year fellowship consists of campus-based and external mentoring, a three-day in-person seminar, and an extended project. Tina Butterfield, Western Colorado University, and Thomas Dunn, Colorado State University, are participating in the 2023-25 cohort.
WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) administers the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). In Colorado, the RCORP program supports three grantees across four sites: Memorial Hospital, San Luis Valley Area Health, and Gunnison County.
The BHP Together With Veterans Program, focused on reducing Veteran suicides, also has two sites in Colorado, one in the San Luis Valley and one in Morgan County (Brush), serving more than 2,000 rural Veterans combined.
Knocking at the College Door is the leading U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. Knocking, which includes a quadrennial publication with additional analysis, is essential for postsecondary policymakers, planning and workforce efforts, and economic development.
WICHE offers curated data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making:
- Tuition and Fees in the West includes tuition, fees, and enrollment data about 350+ public institutions in the West.
- Benchmarks: WICHE Region presents information on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and financing of higher education.
- Data on over 35 indicators in WICHE’s Regional Fact Book for Higher Education in the West.
CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICERS NETWORK Staff from the Colorado Department of Higher Education also participate in regular collaborative calls with colleagues around the region.
WCET- The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies is the leader in practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. The University of Colorado System, Colorado Community College System, and 22 other institutions and organizations are WCET members.
Erika Swain, University of Colorado Boulder, serves on the WCET Steering Committee. Mordecai Ian Brownlee, Community College of Aurora, serves on the WCET Executive Council.
Additionally, Aims Community College, American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Science at Post University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Technical University, Regis University & OCICU, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, University of Colorado – Denver, University of Colorado System, and the University of Northern Colorado are members of the State Authorization Network (SAN), which helps guide institutions through state regulations around online courses and programs.
WICHE has convened the OERWest Network, which is part of a nationwide collaborative to scale the development and adoption of free course materials. Open educational resources (OER) have shown promise in improving student outcomes, particularly for poverty-affected students, for whom the high cost of textbooks can be a barrier to postsecondary success.
*indicates Executive Committee member
Executive Director, Community College of Denver Foundation and Governmental Affairs
Jim Chavez is the executive director of the Community College of Denver Foundation and Government Affairs.
Chavez has worked much of his professional life for education-related causes. As a board member and staff member of the Colorado Student Obligation Bond Authority, he was instrumental in creating Colorado’s first prepaid college tuition program, now known as CollegeInvest, and then worked across the U.S. to develop and implement numerous state college savings programs, or Section 529 plans. He began his career as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young.
Chavez is a member of the board of commissioners for the Denver Housing Authority and a member of the board of directors for the Colorado Nonprofit Association. He is a former trustee for the Clayton Early Learning Center, past board member for the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Corporation, and a past member of the board of trustees for the University of Northern Colorado. He is a graduate of Colorado State University.
Antwan Jefferson *
WICHE Chair, Associate Dean for EDI and Clinical Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver
Antwan Jefferson is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. In his administrative work, Antwan is working to advance and EDI infrastructure that supports faculty, staff, and students, while ensuring the development of an inclusive community of scholarship and practice. In his teaching, Antwan’s focus is on youth, families, and communities, with particular interest in the ways in which institutional and historical practices lead to minoritized statuses, limited resources, and personal/collective forms of inequities. His research agenda considers the ways that family and community members experience schools and organizations in their communities, including the implications of space, voice, and power in decision-making and not-for-profit organizations and schools.
Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Angie Paccione was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education by Gov. Jared Polis in January, 2019. Paccione has more than 20 years of experience in secondary and postsecondary education. She was a high school teacher, coach, and administrator at Smoky Hill High School before earning a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. Paccione served on the CSU faculty for nine years as a teacher educator in the “Project Promise” program and conducted research in the teacher education field, examining educators’ life events that led them to commit to issues of diversity and inclusion. Her findings, which informed a teacher preparation program, were published in Teacher’s College Press and have been cited in more than 75 academic papers.
In 2002, Paccione elected to two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, rising to become house majority caucus chair. She served on the education committee during all four years in the legislature, helping guide Colorado’s education environment. In 2006, she ran for U.S. Congress and came within 2.5 percent of unseating the incumbent.
From 2007 through early 2019, Paccione worked for Verus Global, where she specialized in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent development, and change management. She has worked with leaders from the shop floor to the C-suite in 40 countries and all 50 states and has co-authored two books on leadership.
Growing up biracial in New York City, attending college in California and residing in Colorado, Paccione bridges many divides. She was raised to believe you can accomplish anything to which you set your mind. Playing basketball at Stanford University and professionally in the 1980s, Paccione likes to say that she is as committed to your success as she is her own.
Legislative Advisory Committee